Home Away From Home by CENTS, Barry Beach, Colby Claycomb, John K. Melvin, Kit Rosenberg and Izumi Yokoyama
The CENTS Art Collaborative was interested in how the children of the Tenderloin conceive of their place within their community, and the city as a whole. This was especially ponderous because most of the children living there seemed to be cloistered away somewhere. Given this, CENTS teamed up with organizations like the Tenderloin After School Program and the Boys and Girls Club to work with children that live in the area in an effort to help share their experiences with the city and beyond.
The main thrust of Cents project centers around the notion of home. This was important to the members of CENTS because of the high numbers of immigrant and temporary residents that live in the Tenderloin. Because of the intense bonds that form as a result of living in a clos-knit, diverse region, CENTS noticed the formation of distinct neighborhoods within the neighborhood. In working with wide range of children that live in the area, CENTS hoped to connect a broad swath of people, young and old, with each other and their surroundings.
For about three months, the CENTS led workshops in the Tenderloin that asked children to create a house that moves. The results were surprisingly varied. The kids proposed houses made out of ice cream, strange animal/house hybrid s and everything in between. It soon became apparent that for them, the notion of home went well beyond architecture to include things like a favorite food or pet.
CENTS then combined the submitted renderings to make a fantastical mobile meeting point, one large and one small. The large one, ironically enough, was permanently situated in a grassy lot that used to be where, according to locals, homeless people could have a soft place to sleep. The smaller baby house was carted all over the Tenderloin at select times in October and November. From within the smaller structure, the members of CENTS distributed postcards with images of the childrens creations in the hopes that their impressions of home will extend beyond the borders of their neighborhood via mail. The mobile meeting point also worked to bring together people that differ in age and ethnicity, and that might not have had the opportunity to meet otherwise.